As a woodworker, you know that having the right tools is essential to finishing your next project to the specifications you want. Although there are a variety of machines that can deliver the results you need, a drill press is one of the best options out there.
With the best drill presses for woodworking, no project is out of reach. These tools enable you to work on a variety of materials safely and with ease. As such, we want to take the time to show you the top models out there.
If you’re in the market for a high-quality drill press, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist, each of these units are built to deliver.
WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed Drill Press
⅓ HP induction
SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-Inch Drill Press
3.2 amp motor
WEN 4210 Drill Press with Laser, 10-Inch
3.2 amp motor
Genesis GDP1005A 10" 5-Speed 4.1 Amp Drill Press
ShopSeries RK7033 6.2-Amp 10" Drill Press
WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press [Editor's Choice]
⅔ HP induction motor
When picking out the best drill press for woodworking, it’s imperative that you know for what you’ll be using it. For example, if you’re drilling holes through plywood or boards, you don’t need a full-size unit that’s designed for thicker pieces.
Wen is one of the top brands making drill presses, and the 4208 model is built for smaller jobs. With an eight-inch swing and a two-inch stroke, it’s perfect for thin materials or joints. Thus, if you’re planning on drilling deep, you will want to upgrade to a bigger model.
The construction of this machine is exceptional, with cast iron and steel parts and components. Even though it’s considered a bench-top model, it’s just as resilient and reliable as a floor unit.
Precision is always a primary factor when using a drill press. As such, the 4208 has a locking mechanism so that you can adjust the depth of your swing to fit your needs. This allows you to be more accurate and repeat depths over and over again.
Another excellent feature is the variable speed adjustment. As you probably know, hardwoods require different speeds than softwoods, so you have to plan accordingly. With the 4208, you can go from 740 to 3140 rpm in seconds. Each speed locks in place for safety and accuracy.
Since you’ll likely be working with a variety of bits, it’s helpful to know that this machine has a ½-inch chuck. You do need a tool to open and close it, but fortunately, there is onboard storage for it.
Finally, this model comes with Wen’s remarkable two-year limited warranty.
If you’re looking for a standard-size drill press that can work with a lot of different materials, this is an excellent option. Skil is another top brand making reliable power tools, and this press is impressive.
Convenience and simplicity are present with this machine. You can adjust the height and angle of the table quickly with the rotating handle on the side. It has a 10-inch swing, which is ideal for most projects.
To ensure that you get precise measurements every time, you can lock the drill into different positions. Whether you’re drilling into wood, metal, or plastic, it works well in all conditions. A 3.2-amp motor can power through almost anything.
One unique feature that comes with this drill press is the laser pointer built-in. The laser ensures that you know precisely where you are going to drill, as well as how wide the hole is going to be. Some presses use LED light to illuminate your work, but we prefer lasers overall.
The tabletop is also incredible because it can tilt up to 45 degrees on almost any side. You can create bevels on the front, left, or right as needed. On top of that, the table is made of high-quality cast iron so that it will last for years.
The chuck on this drill press is ½ inches. This size is sufficient for the majority of jobs, and it allows you to work with a variety of bits. Although we would prefer for there to be onboard storage, it’s not too hard to keep the key handy.
As we’ve already seen, Wen is a company that knows how to make the best drill presses for woodworking. However, since the 4208 model was only designed for small jobs, what about if you have larger pieces?
Although the 4210 is a definite upgrade, it’s far from the most powerful product that Wen has to offer. As such, this machine is built for most small to medium-sized projects. If you’re working with some industrial-strength materials, you will want to see the final Wen press on this list.
Nonetheless, the 4210 has some incredible features that make it a good choice for most woodworkers. As with all Wen tools, you can expect high-quality parts and construction. A cast iron bottom keeps the unit stable, even if you don’t bolt it to a bench or table (although you should).
One cool feature of this model is the x-pattern laser that comes with it. This laser type is better than most because it provides you more context to ensure proper precision. A dot laser can be hard to see sometimes, so having an X is much more efficient.
Another upgrade is the fact that this press comes with an LED light. This illuminates your work even more and provides you with ample clarity. As such, you shouldn’t have any trouble making a precise hole in any material.
The speeds available with this 3.2-amp motor work with almost any product, from hardwood to metal. You can go from 600-3100 rpm in seconds, thanks to the quick-trigger system. Since most other presses start at 700 rpm or more, the slower speeds work better with hardwoods and metals.
Overall, this machine is a better option than the 4208, as long as you aren’t looking for industrial-grade features.
For the most part, drill presses are built to work with relatively small or thin pieces of wood. If you have to drill holes into plywood or boards, these machines are perfect for the job. Similarly, sheet metal and plastic are also ideal for most drill presses.
But what if you have to drill into a massive piece of wood? A 10-inch swing is not going to cut it when you have 30-40 inches of material standing underneath.
Fortunately, you can get around that by swiveling the work table around so that the drill bit is exposed. Since the Genesis is a benchtop model, you can install it on the edge of your table top and drill directly into a tall piece of wood (we don’t recommend doing this with metal).
While the rotating table is an excellent feature, we also appreciate the more powerful motor. At 4.1 amps, you can get a lot of speed and performance from this drill press. As with the other models we’ve seen, it comes with five different options, ranging from 620-3070 rpm.
Other features that we like about this drill press include larger handles on the side for easier movement, as well as an integrated work light. Unlike the Wen 4210 above, this light is much brighter and makes it super easy to see what you’re doing.
Finally, this press comes with a ⅝-inch chuck. This accommodates both small and large bits, meaning that you can do even more with a single machine. Finaly this is the best benchtop drill press for woodworking.
When comparing this next drill press to the rest of the models on this list, the one thing that will stick out more than anything is the amount of raw power you get. With a 6.2-amp motor, you can power through almost anything.
As such, this press from ShopSeries is a fantastic buy, provided that the rest of the specs are to your liking.
When looking at the specs, you’ll see that this is a relatively compact press. It has a 10-inch swing and a two-inch stroke, so you are limited in the sizes you can drill through. As such, we highly recommend this model for small projects that work with tough materials.
The speed adjustments range from 620-3100 rpm, which is more than enough for most drilling. You also get an incredible amount of torque, ensuring that you don’t have to worry about the press giving up halfway through.
The chuck is ½ inch, and it has 16+1 positions available for your convenience. Since it’s built for smaller projects, you don’t need a ⅝-inch chuck to get the job done. You do have to use a key to change bits, but the on/off switch is also keyed for additional safety.
One other feature of this drill press is the integrated LED light. It uses a lithium-ion battery and comes with an indicator light, so you know when to recharge. Finally, this press comes with a two-year limited warranty.
Our final drill press is the massive and powerful 4214 from Wen. If you’re looking for more performance to get the job done, this is the machine to buy. Compared to everything else on this list, the 4214 is the largest and most reliable.
As far as the chuck is concerned, it is ⅝ inches instead of ½ inch. This enables you to work with a wider variety of bits. In fact, this press is so powerful that you can drill through up to one inch of cast iron with ease.
One unique feature that comes with the 4214 is the digital speed readout. Instead of having to pay attention to your settings, you can just look at the screen and adjust accordingly. As with the other presses, this model has five options available. The speeds range from 580-3200 rpm. As you can see, this is a much broader range than other units we’ve seen.
The size of this press is also impressive. The swing is 12 inches, and you can rotate the table out to work on taller pieces as well. The stroke depth is 3 ⅛ inches, and you can adjust it as needed for better precision.
To ensure that you don’t mess up your work, this model comes with both a laser and an LED light. It also has a much larger table (9.5” square) and a table roller extension available. It also comes with standard options like onboard storage for the chuck key, as well as a two-year limited warranty.
When looking at different drill presses, you’ll notice that they are rated by inch sizes. For the most part, these machines range between eight and 16 inches. The higher the number, the more room you have to set your piece.
Thus, if you’re drilling into big parts and components, you want a model with sufficient swing. However, one thing to remember is that many units allow you to pivot the table away so that you have no limitations at all.
As a rule, 10 inches is sufficient for most jobs, but we recommend 12 if you’re a professional or you’re not sure what kind of material you’re going to use most.
Since you will want to drill through woods of varying hardness and thicknesses, you need a motor that can handle it all. Usually, drill press motors are rated by amps, although sometimes they are translated into horsepower.
For most jobs, we recommend at least 3.2 amps, but anything higher than that will perform better. Overall, you want more power if you plan on drilling for extended periods. When drilling through multiple pieces back to back, you don’t want a motor that will overheat and give up halfway through.
Although the drill press is doing the work, you have to have a high-quality bit to penetrate the material. As such, you have to pay attention to the size of the chuck. For many jobs, a ½-inch chuck is sufficient, but they are not designed for larger works.
If you have to upgrade, we suggest choosing a ⅝-inch chuck instead. The added benefit is that you can still use ½-inch bits. This means that you can work with a wider range of sizes and materials, which makes your press even more convenient and practical.
All of the models we saw on this list were designated as benchtop units. This means that you have to mount them to a table or bench to get the height you need. However, benchtop drill presses are limited in both dimensions and power.
If you’re looking for something massive that can drill through anything, then you want to buy a floor model. However, we only recommend going this route if you have industrial drilling to do. Floor drill presses are quite large and heavy, so you have to have a designated area for it to stay. Keep that in mind when making your final decision.
These days, it’s pretty rare to find a drill press that operates at a single speed. Since you want to be able to work with a variety of materials, you want options. Most benchtop presses range from 600-3000 rpm. Industrial models can go lower and higher, depending on the model and your needs.
When comparing different speeds, remember that hard materials like metal and hardwoods require slower rpms. This is so that you don’t risk overheating the bit or the piece itself. When that happens, you can damage the material and ruin your project. As such, if you plan on working with tougher components, you want a press with a lower range option.
Since a drill press is designed to give you perfect holes every time, you want to be sure that you can’t accidentally make an error. Thus, there are a few additional features to consider when picking out a model for your workshop.
Unless you’re working on small projects, we have to say that the Wen 4214 is the best drill press for woodworking. The size, performance, and capabilities offered by this machine are unmatched. Whether drilling through hardwood, plastic, or heavy metals, this press can handle it all with no issues.
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